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U.S. Department of Justice

2007 Federal Interagency Conference on Limited English Proficiency

On March 15-16, 2007, the U.S. Department of Justice's Coordination and Review section in partnership with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, National Virtual Translation Center, Social Security Administration, U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services; U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs Office of Civil Rights; U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Department of Treasury Internal Revenue Service all worked together to co-sponsor the conference. The conference provided a unique opportunity to share with and learn from leaders in the field of providing language access, include federal, state, and local officials; funding organizations; language service providers; and others.

The COPS Office sponsored a session entitled:
Putting All the Pieces Together: Identifying Languages Spoken and Promising Practices for Overcoming Language Barriers

As immigrant communities become more dispersed throughout the nation, federal agencies are struggling with the challenges of providing limited English proficient (LEP) individuals equitable access to services ranging from public safety to health care. The first challenge is to obtain an accurate demographic picture of the population that is being served, or should be served, by your agency. Participants learned how to do this through available sources and information that can be mined to determine language needs. Identifying language needs is only half the battle. The next step is implementing quality language assistance services. Participants heard about promising practices in the law enforcement and health disciplines, as well as from community-based service providers. Given the increasing diversity and dearth of adequate resources, this much-needed presentation fostered a productive discussion about overcoming language barriers and initiatives that focus on bridging the growing language gap.

Amy Schapiro, Sr. Social Science Analyst, COPS Office, U.S. Department of Justice

Walter (Curt) Norris, Director of Employment Diversity, 
     Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department 
Susan Shah, Senior Planner, Center on Immigration and Justice, 
     Vera Institute of Justice 
David M. Smiddy, ESOL/Volunteer Coordinator, 
     Clark County Literacy Coalition 
Mara Youdelman, Director, Language Access Advocacy Project, 
     National Health Law Program

View the Putting All the Pieces Together presentation (PDF or TXT)

The Office of Justice Programs, Office of Civil Rights sponsored a session entitled:
Community Outreach to LEP Communities: Successful Strategies and Perspectives from Community Leaders, Grant Recipients, and Researchers

This panel featured useful strategies from a variety of different types of organizations that have all gathered information, developed partnerships, or created programs to better determine and address the needs of various limited English proficiency (LEP) communities. The panelists discussed how they assisted the LEP communities they work with to gain better access to services from recipients of federal funding.

Daphne Felten-Green, Special Counsel, Office for Civil Rights, 
     Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice 
Tamara Mabey, Attorney Advisor, Office for Civil Rights, 
     Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice

Roy Appletree, Executive Director, Foreign Born Information and 
     Referral Network (FIRN) 
Michael Bischoff, Director of Projects, Council on Crime and Justice 
Anita Khashu, Director, Center on Immigration and Justice, 
     Vera Institute of Justice 
Walter (Curt) Norris, Director, Office of Employment Diversity, 
     Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department

View the Community Outreach presentations:
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department - Hispanic American 
Resource Team
(PDF or TXT)
Engaging Communities in the Language Access Planning Process (PDF or TXT)


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